Sunday, November 20, 2011

An Attempt at Socializing

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Growing up I was always aware of the stares of others.  I knew that my sister brought me attention that I never wanted.  I knew that people avoided and talked about us.  Recently, I had a taste of those old feelings but it was me that brought it on myself.

My dear friend turned 27...again yesterday.  This year has been hard for her, It was good to see her surrounded by love, family and friends. This marked the second "social" occasion since the doctor removed my guts...well my gall bladder, and I have had the drastic dietary restrictions.  I have to say I never realized how much of my social life was tied to food.  I probably should have guessed...I mean I am not a boozer, and not one to pass around the hash pipe or needle. Food is way more seductive...if someone comes over and I don't have anything to say take a bite or make an excuse to get some grub.  

The first social event was a faculty pot luck....I could not eat one thing that was brought.  So I brought my own raggedly lunch- beans and cucumbers...I know it is a pretty sketchy combination.  Over the last 5 months beans have been the go to food.  Low fat, full of high non-soluble fiber and so stinking easy to make they are one of the few filling things I can ingest and not be in pain after.  And cucumbers are a tiny bit sweet so I feel like I am getting dessert.

Everyone noticed...I'm pretty sure.  There were comments made about how I was distrustful of my fellow peers cooking.  When I explained about the restricted diet then I got some mixed comments...and looks.  Some said they felt guilty eating next to me.  Nice.  Some looks were horrified, some were a sympathetic smiles, and the one that grated my nerves was the comment..."Well, it is better for you.  Maybe you will lose some weight."  Oh it was said!!! That bitch!  My friend looked like she was going to claw the lady's eyes out who said it.  I didn't bother to tell her I already had dropped 4 jean sizes, what would be the point?
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That brings us to my friends birthday.  It was her party she is welcome to eat how she likes.  I love her and if I physically could have I would have dug in like a crazy lady.  However, that was not an option for me. So I ate lettuce and tomato. I got brave and snatched the smallest slider wrapped in bacon I could find.  Then I talked with people while they drank.  The later it got the less they made sense.  The more I got comments like, "Come on have a drink.  One won't matter."  It felt like I was in a bad after school special.  The more I said no and tried to explain to the drunks that it would exponentially accelerate the progression of my liver disease the more dug in they got. I finally had to go.

All the way home I thought about the coming holiday...a celebration of eating.  This year I am offering more veggies then carbs and sweets.  I wanted to make sure I wasn't left out and could socialize and not feel like I was making everyone around me uncomfortable while I ate.  I will have all the normal stuff...just with healthy twist...and healthier options for those interested.  No alcohol. Family won't care.  They won't judge me...well not about what I dusting ability will be under question but I am used to it.  At least with them...if I think of slipping they will snap me back in line.  I am thankful for them. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Very Busy Sunday

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Today, there were no death defying moves on the roads.  Days off rock.

I did wake up at 8 A.M. like an alarm clock went off.  It hadn't.  But I was wide awake.  Pretty sure I blame the sun and being off of that damn Day Light Savings.

I made sure to make the morning productive.  I didn't do any dishes, but did  squeak out one load of laundry.  I was very busy...checked up on my blog buddies. During my hiatus you guys have been busy.

I wrote in my book. It felt good. But I discovered I am wonder I haven't been writing.  So I dug in and researched...I have a better idea of where I am going.  It will all work out.  I need to write through it.    

I hit a pretty big number today...well actually late yesterday.  I have had over 20k page views on the ol' blog.  That is a ridiculous level of growth for me...considering this is a side thing I do between two jobs and book writing.  Last year at this time I dreamed of hitting 3k.  It was a lot to ask out of my 25 readers.  I have to confess but last year I was the one doing most of the page views.  I was very busy.  Who knows maybe next year it will be 200k page could happen. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Twirling My Retro Joy

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Spinning back into the swing of things.  Today was the first full day back at the driving school.

6 hours of sitting next to awkwardly shy grown boys gripping the steering with everything they have inside their soul. I need to stretch next time.  I tried to get them to talk.  It made their driving worse so I shut up...well I cut the chit chat.  How uber boring!

On this uber boring tour of the same town for 6 hours I did discover:

  •  7 garage sales.
  • 80% of them had extreme amounts of clothes.  These don't fly off the lawn as fast as you would think. They looked so hopeful at the beginning of the day and by end they were angry shoving it into trash bags.  Don't waste your time folks...just donate them to that friend that likes them or Goodwill.
  • While sitting in a silent car for several hours I tend to day I was a multimillionaire land investment specialist.  Life was so good....only one job and I was the boss, lots of travel, time to have babies, time to write....the list goes on. 
  • As the hours click by the smells coming from the restaurants get stronger and stronger.  Not in a bad way. I always have the strangest cravings when the shift is over.  Today it was fried rice, a beef burrito, and Asian sweet bread with a frozen yogurt to top it off. 
  •  I absolutely detest putting gas in the car.  I hate doing it for my own car. As the hours tick on I find myself looking at the gas gauge almost as much as I do the speedometer.  Today I had no choice...I had to do it.  So to ease my irritation I facebooked on my phone while the gas also was a way for me to look busy while the drunk guy on the pump next to me looked at me all angry.  At least he wasn't homeless and begging for money. Not that I hate homeless people but as a female there is a natural fear I have of men that have nothing to lose.  I was looking pretty delish in my super baggy jeans about two sizes past a good fit and my faded Troy Aikman might have a few holes and a bleach spot...but it is so comfy and kinda homeless chic.  Maybe that drunk guy was thinking I was going to ask him for it all makes sense.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What is daylight savings really saving?

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I am still suffering from jet lag.

I was one hour.  Get over it already!

It used to be so easy but falling back, but this week has been killing me.  Everyday I have been in bed by 9pm.  It doesn't help that Mom and I forget to change the time on the clock in the living room.  So as I rush to bed I think for a brief second it is the normal time.  The darkness that sets in at 5 pm doesn't help. I am pretty sure it is triggering some prehistoric mechanism in my brain telling me to prepare to sleep.

To top off my exciting weeknight life I have been waking up at 4 am....who in their right mind wakes up at 4 am naturally?  Not me...until this week.  It goes against my delicate systems...and I want it to stop.

I am going to try to use this new wake up mechanism for good tomorrow.  I have a doctors appointment. It is for my first blood test post surgery.  I was a genius and decided that I would have the appointment at 3 pm.  That way I wouldn't miss school.  I am pretty sure I am out of days off.  So my little stingy self will be fasting all day in preparation for the appointment.  Smart right?  Well, this is where the waking up before God will come in handy...when my eyes pop open at predawn the plan is... I will hop from bed and get some food.  You know, so I don't die tomorrow.  Then I will eat- fast, and go back to sleep. I am thinking that if I am super speedy I may even stay partially asleep while I eat and will be back in bed before I know it.

Let you know how the experiment goes...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hold day with the dead to go

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HOLD ON! We have only 8 school days till Thanksgiving.

"I think I can. I think I can," is the chant of the champions.   The only problem we have with these 8 days is one of them...well three of them include the annual district mandatory field trip.  I cannot think of a worse fate.

The powers that be thought that the 7th graders would benefit from a day in the woods walking on wilderness trails, observing research ponds (don't get is a mud pit that the kids fall into) and then spend some time in a settlement cemetery. On paper it probably looked good.

Imagine if you will....
Your boss saying next week we want you to stand in a cemetery for 8 hours with no bathroom and make sure the students don't trash the oldest settlement in the area. Oh, and it will be surrounded in poison ivy, and poison oak.  If you are really lucky you will see some of the hundreds of poisonous snakes.  I am not even kidding.  This is my fate for next Thursday.

Last year I had nightmares for two months.  "They," the wily woodsmen that work at this hell hole, informed us that when we see a snake...(you caught that right?  When? What in the...)...we are to stay still and slowly walk away backwards.  My dear friend was one of the "lucky" to run into one of these reptilian monsters of the deep backwoods.  She screamed for her life and ran like a crazy lady, throwing elbows the entire way nearly knocking two darlings to their death.  I asked her about it later she informed me, "They need to pay attention when they in the woods."  I nodded in complete agreement.

Another teacher friend had a student with diabetes in her group. She had to be "trained" before being assigned to him.  Half way down the trail the little darling had a drop in blood sugar.  The symptoms had her pretty freaked out...she had to ditch her group on the trail and run with the student back to the main picnic area to do urine test and administer insulin.  The other little lost darlings had to be chased down by the other teachers on the trail to be assimilated into their groups.

Everyone survived, so the district called the mandate a raging success.  They didn't see the snake. Nor did they see my friend's red face when she was trying to get the kid to take his insulin, a phone clutched to her ear talking to the nurse at school, and her delicate brow moist from the jog.

I know...I can hear you...but you safaried in Africa what is a few hours in a cemetery?  I was only responsible for me there.  I am handful enough without having to watch preteens bubbling with hormones bent on "having a good time" in the woods.  

I think I will hit play on Youtube..."I will survive" is on...I will survive.  Hope the little darlings make it.


"We are learning to make fire." 
~ Margaret Atwood
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Heat radiates from me.

Or is it the stitches holding me together.

There is a fire inside.  

They call it fever. Or is it ambition?

It consumes as it burns. 

Will the ashen coals be my only shape?

He said extreme heat produces diamonds.

I'm not seeing a sparkle.

The warm silt darkens as the wind carries it from my palm.

Like wishes, the powder takes wings as they become apart of the storm.

Inkpaperpen has a great routine of posting prompts for her readers and then on Wednesday we post our results.  The inspiration this week was Margaret Atwood's line, "We are learning to make fire."  I am not sure why but all the prompt tend to make me feel poetic....

Write On Wednesdays

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Grandma saw it before it was cool...

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In a longing for holding on to the Harry Potter phenomena owls have been showing up everywhere.

My Grandmother collected owls.  In the back bedroom at her house, the room with the burnt orange shag carpet, had an entire wall bookshelf.  Perched on the top shelf in between pictures of grand kids and crafty crap we produced for her in great volume, she kept her owls.  They were not as common back then but she had a ton of them.

As the little guys make a trendy appearance I am struck by the thought of her. It made me think...

I have been thinking for the last year about getting a tattoo.  With the wide variety of pictures of the little guys coming out, and with a little bit of peer pressure I decided to do it.

Not sure why the pores in my leg looks so huge...please over look and focus on the art. 

Every part of it has some kind of symbolism for me.

The owl of course represents Grandma.  The text below is the song that helped me heal after her death. I chose blue because Grandma always made us put our feet in the water.  We traveled with her a ton growing up.  Where ever we went if there was a lake, river, ocean or big fountain our feet ended up in the water.  When I went to Africa and we were driving by the Cape of Good Hope I made the driver stop so I could hustle out to the powder soft sand and dip my toes in the cold water.  I did it for her.  I did it for both of us. Having the tattoo makes me remember that all things, people, feelings and situations pass.  The only thing we are left with are our memories.

What is something that you have always wanted to do?     

Rethinking life

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Last year...

I thought I was finished with my first novel.

Excited about the upcoming holidays I was planning for a month, the menu for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was hoping this time the holidays would go like planned.  

I had a list mapping out my black Friday game plan.  

I was taking a sabbatical from teaching drivers education and loving every minute of it.  

I hadn't been to the doctor in over 3 years. I had odd aches but passed them off as inconvenient and old age.  

I had gained a gang of weight and could care less.  Looked at it as my time of expansion...knowing that it would cycle off eventually. 

I was content. Dreaming about the day when I could see my book on Amazon.

This year...

I have started rewriting my first novel with a different point of view.  It has changed everything the voice finally sounds like my own but the plot doesn't fit for some reason. It has gone back to being a stressful work in progress.

I'm excited about the holidays but nervous.  I don't want everyone feeling awkward because I can't dig in with them.  But I also want to have a variety of food that I can digest and not get sick from.

After spending an unexpected two grande in medical bills there will be no planning any kind of shopping sprees. Instead I am trying to get my body strong enough to get back to working two jobs.

I knocked off a few things on that list of things I always wanted to do or try.  (tried kale...yuck, go on an impromptu vacation, got a tat...that will be a later post.)

I have lost some unexpected weight.  So my clothe fit differently...too baggy can be just as uncomfortable as too tight. 

I am worried.  I have planned my own funeral/death plan.  Morbid, but it is better to have a plan regardless so your family won't have the added stress. It isn't that I think I will die tomorrow...but we are all a little closer everyday. Better to be prepared.

Next year...

I hope to be stronger, healthier, and finished with this damn book.

How about you?  
Where have you been and where do you hope to be?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Unleashing the devil...or was that my gall bladder?

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In the silence I have been busy.  

It is amazing how much pain you can endure when it starts small and grows slowly. For the last three months I have been on the super know the awesome low to no fat, low carb, no sugar diet.  (Lost a gang of least a 1st grader.)  It was an attempt to not die before my scheduled surgery.  It is amazing the self discipline you can find when that is the alternative. 

As the date got back ache got worse, and I started getting pains in my chest.  Seems like all I was doing was walking around hunched over holding my back, sleeping and dreaming of a giant steak with a buttery bake potato. (It is the Midwest we like our staples.)

I had surgery two weeks ago.  It was suppose to be a quick and easy laparoscopic, three small holes and done.  He got in there and couldn't find my gall bladder. Then found that the stone was too large to fit and had to make a 4 inch cut across my abdomen above my belly button.  Supper sexy.  What with the scars and all that loose gross skin from weight loss I am going to be rocking that bikini this coming summer. 

While the doctor was digging around in my innards he found something we weren't expecting.  I know you're thinking like I alien???  
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My liver had quite a bit of scarring.  Apparently, I have this gross thing called Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, NASH.  It is where fat instead of being processed and and broken down in your liver gets trapped there and the liver reacts to the "intruding" fat by scarring.  Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis sounds I had a fast and wild youth. isn't so.   This non-viral disease in instead related to my insulin intolerance.  

After the diagnoses I did some digging around and reading all the studies I can find.  The doctor said that they don't really have a cure for it but have found for some people weight loss helps to slow down and sometimes stop the progression of the liver cirrhosis and eventual liver cancer. I have always had insulin intolerance  even at my thinnest so I am not sure how it will help.  Plus, nothing can get rid of the early cirrhosis damage that is already there.  Maybe I'm bitter because my steak and potato are being postponed for a lifetime.

I will have to get monthly blood test to monitor my ATL (not a shout out to my Atlanta is a liver enzyme that is an indicator of liver health.)  The normal ATL is 0-45 and a month prior to surgery mine was 90.  Two weeks before surgery it was 120.  I go in for testing next week to see where it is now.  With my gall bladder gone there will be more stress on my I am expecting an initial climb in the number. 

Another exciting thing I get to have are biyearly liver biopsies.  I am not a fan of this test.  First of all you have to be in a MRI or CT scan while they do it.  My last experience in a MRI scan I had a panic attack, and almost clawed my way out while having a full blown asthma attack.  So you can imagine the shivers of fear that raced through me when the ol' doc dropped that bomb on me.  First question I asked was, "Do I get to be sedated?"  He said no and looked at me like I was crazy.  Just wait till I claw my way through one of his machines...then sedation won't seem like such a bad idea. My next biopsy should be in a little spring break fun for me.  Who needs the beach?  
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I feel bad dumping my sunshine on you, dear reader.  But with all these life changers I haven't picked up my laptop very much..and when I have it has been in a mad search for information.  I have not abandon you. But up until a week ago couldn't sit up long enough to shower much less type anything.   I do have a request...

After 3 months of eating chicken/bird and it looking like it will be my food of the future...I am in desperate need of easy and tasty recipes.  Would love to hear your suggestions.